Mariners skipper Scott Servais got this decision out of the way quickly, naming ace right-hander Felix Hernandez his Opening Day starter on Saturday afternoon before one of the club’s first official workouts of the spring. Seattle kicks off the 2016 regular season April 4 at Texas.
“It’s huge. It’s everything,” Servais told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. “Everybody is always talking about the No. 1 starter. We have a legit No. 1 starter.”
King Felix will be making his eighth straight Opening Day start, and his ninth overall for the Mariners. He is 6-0 with a 1.49 ERA over his last eight.
“Felix has never thrown a pitch in the playoffs,” Servais added. “And it’s time. We have a lot of work to do to get there. He knows that as well. But for a player to have that kind of career and to not have pitched in the playoffs yet … It’s up to us to make sure we get the pieces around him. And it up to him to help pull a few guys along with him. It’s going to be a joint effort.”